I discovered this lesson while browsing through the Artsonia site recently. Gulf Elementary in Cape Coral, Florida displayed this beautiful Under-the-Sea chalk art on their school page. Although no lesson plans accompanied the piece, I experimented and came up with my own.
I used this lesson for fourth grade students, but could be used for a fifth and sixth as well. For younger grades, use an easier subject matter (maybe penguins or sunflowers) and the results will be equally as grand.
I passed out sample drawings of various sea life…dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, seahorses, fish, etc. Coloring books that you find at craft stores are especially helpful drawing aids. I demonstrate the basic principals in drawing the fish (I use the “shape” philosophy) and try to cover at least three different types (oval fish, elongated dolphins and round turtles). I encourage the kids to draw big, actually, I insist they draw big as they can because the glue will be applied next…
Drawing with Glue
Each student receives one piece of 12 x 18 black construction paper, a pencil, eraser and a bottle of white school glue.
I demonstrate the technique for the tracing pencil lines with the glue. Basically, I tell them to use the glue bottle as they would a pencil. The orange tip is like the lead: touch the paper, don’t hover above it and squeeze carefully.
After drawing the fish, sea turtle, etc (only one please!), trace the pencil lines with the glue. Lay papers flat on the floor until dry.
Tip: If you have a drying rack that has a slight tilt, it’s wise to lay the pieces on the floor until the glue “sets”, then you can rack ’em up.
Tip #2: Be careful the kids (or any wayward parent helper) don’t track footprints over the art. Yes, this happened to me.
Once the white school glue dries, you will notice that the glue dries clear. This reveals the black paper underneath, making the glue appear to be black. Cool, huh? Using chalk pastel, the kids color in their fish, seaweed and the ocean. Apply the chalk right up close to the glue “wall”. This wall prevents the pastel from leeching onto the other colors. The top of their picture should be a light colored ocean color and the bottom should be darker. Gradations of blue and streaks of white are used to achieve this gradation and the sun’s filtration.
I demonstrate how to add highlights with white chalk and tones with black chalk. I give them the “black pastel is powerful so control it” speech and let the kids experiment with the highlighting.
The children now add details such as scales, patterns, lines, gills to their pictures using chalk and without blending their lines in.